Video poker might not be everybody’s first choice of game, but there is plenty of excellent gameplay to be had by giving it a whirl. Most major casinos carry video poker games, and there are numerous variants out there to suit everybody’s style. If you haven’t tried video poker at internet betting sites yet, here is your guide to getting started.
Why Play Video Poker?
First, why would you try playing video poker? For starters, if you aren’t the most experienced card player out there, video poker is ideal for you. It is newbie-friendly. At no point do you have to take on a dealer; the game is merely you versus the paytable.
Video poker games allow players to work up their skills without the pressure of dealers or other players. Only once you are content in how you play, should you migrate to RNG poker games, or live dealer titles.
The first step to playing online video poker is finding a game, which suits your skill set, or preferences. There are plenty of variants for you to try your hand at, so playing video poker never gets boring. Let’s look at the more popular options to help you get started.
Choosing a Video Poker Game
The first video poker you may wish to try is known as Jacks or Better. It is the base template upon which most other video poker variants are built. If you are just beginning in the world of online video poker, it makes an excellent place to begin.
- Jacks or Better: This game is arguably the most commonly found video poker game online. It is a low-risk variant and one which pays out if players land a Pair of Jacks or higher.
- Deuces Wild: Unlike Jacks or Better, players are required to have a Three of a Kind hand to bag a win in this video poker game. However, to help you out, the game features wild cards. These appear as 2s. The addition of 2s as wilds means that players can win with extra, non-conventional poker hands such as a Wild Royal Flush, and the fabled Five of a Kind.
- Aces & Faces: Aces & Faces works in much the same way as Jacks or Better. There is a twist, though. This game contains bonus payouts. These occur if players have a hand which includes either an ace or a face.
- Bonus Poker: There are several bonus poker games out there. Bonus Poker and Double Bonus Poker seem to be the two most commonly offered ones. Again, this is a Jacks or Better variant, albeit one which offers additional prizes when players land specific Four of a Kind hands.
- Joker Poker: This very simple video poker game features just a single wild. As you might imagine from its title, that wild is the joker card. The game is also played with only a single deck, allowing you to get a relatively good idea of what is still left in the pack when forming your hand.
- Multi-Hand Video Poker: This video poker game is virtually identical to Jacks or Better, although it allows players to wager on multiple hands at once. The first cards drawn are always the same in each hand, but after swapping out cards, the additional cards a player receives differs from hand to hand.
- Tens or Better: Unlike Jacks or Better, Tens or Better pays out a cash prize if players have a hand consisting of just two 10s. Given that this game is easier to land a win in, the values of the prizes are worth slightly less than in Jacks or Better.
- All American Video Poker: This video poker variant is played with a standard 52-card deck and follows the Jacks or Better format. However, lower payouts are offered for Full House and Two Pair hands, and higher payouts are available for Straight, Flush and Straight Flush hands. These games are generally decorated in the stars, stripes and eagle regalia of the United States, too, so they are easy to spot.
Of course, there are plenty of other top video poker variants out there for you to play. Each one will have its own take on the rules, and these rule changes will adjust the payback rate, the hands you can win with, as well as the prizes on offer. They may or may not offer jokers/wild cards, and the betting ranges in each video poker vary wildly, too.
Now that you know about the types of video poker games, which you can play, it is time to pick one and starting wagering. Let’s look at how you can go about the latter.
Getting Started with Video Poker
Video poker games are not remotely complicated, no matter which variant you choose to play. In most cases, players will find that there is a screen displaying what can be won (the paytable), a series of betting buttons (which can be adjusted), and a deck of five cards displayed on the screen.
Players can use the betting button, which appears on the screen to alter their stakes between the accepted minimum and maximum limits. These limits vary from game to game, as do the buttons, which allow you to manipulate your stakes. There will often be a button, which will enable you to choose the value of your coins, and one which permits you to wager several coins per hand. Once a bet has been made, players can click on the deal button to begin. Most video poker games can be played with stakes costing as little as 10p, some even cheaper. Of course, the opposite end of the wagering spectrum allows for some big bets, too, but they seldom exceed £500 a hand.
Once a bet has been wagered, players will be dealt five cards. As mentioned, there is no dealer, nor are there any opposition players in video poker. Your sole objective is to try to form the best poker hand you possibly can from those available on the paytable. If you manage to do this, you’ll bag a prize based on that hand, as indicated on said paytable.
Players will often be permitted to click on any of the cards in their hand, and they can choose to hold cards. Any cards you wish to keep should be held. Any cards, which are not held, will be discarded and replaced by new ones once you hit the deal button again.
After any discarded cards are switched out and replaced by new ones, your final poker hand is complete. It will then be matched against the paytable to see if it is a winning hand.
What Can I Win Playing Video Poker?
If a player’s hand matches one on the paytable, they will win whatever prize the paytable denotes. Note, prizes can be worth coins or multipliers against a total bet. For instance, a prize may be worth 100 coins, or 5x your total bet.
In video poker games that do not feature wilds, only standard poker hands will result in a win. If you play a video poker game, which has wilds, you are likely to get some oddball hands, such as Five of a Kind, or a Wild Royal Flush, as mentioned above.
While the video poker payouts vary from game to game (based on the rules of each variant), most games feature prizes, which are similar to Jacks or Better. These include:
- Pair of Jacks: 1:1
- 2 Pairs: 2:1
- Three of a Kind: 3:1
- Straight: 4:1
- Flush: 6:1
- Full House: 9:1
- Four of a Kind: 25:1
- Straight Flush: 50:1
- Royal Flush: 250:1
When opting to play a variant, which uses wild cards, it is always important to do your homework first. Such games may make it easier to win, but they may require players to have Two Pairs or a Three of a Kind if they wish to bag a prize, instead of the default Pair of Jacks. It is also worth noting the probability of landing such combos and the pay rate of each game. This info can often be found on the game developer’s website.
Where Can I Play Video Poker?
Almost all major online casinos offer video poker games to their players. These games may be visible in their own genre or category. Alternatively, they can sometimes be found in an “instant win” or “other” games group from the lobby of such sites.
Microgaming tends to be the primary provider of video poker games, and they offer the most significant array of variants. Any newbie who is hoping to try video poker for the very first time would do well to start their quest for top video poker games at a Microgaming casino. They aren’t the only providers to offer games, though, so shop about a bit if you want a wider choice of games.
Video poker is one of the easiest, hassle-free casino gambling games you can play online. With a bit of patience and skill, they can also lead you to become a better poker player in general, and perhaps even prepare you for other types of poker games. Bagging a few quid while playing video poker doesn’t hurt either.